January is the time for making resolutions but, if you’ve got the guts, February is the time to see how they’re holding up. A month later is a good time to check back in and reappraise those resolutions because February separates the wanna be resolvers from those who resolve and keep the faith. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, January is theoretical, while February is when things get real.
I checked in on my resolutions the other day and found an unexpected pattern. The things I focused on, the things I made hardcore promises to myself to change about myself, are going all right. Not great, just all right. For instance, I resolved to run every day of the year in 2015. (Yes, I know. It’s a decidedly grandiose resolution. But, hey, if you can’t go first class, stay at home.) By January 31 I had missed three days of running. So, you know, while it’s not exactly what I’d planned, it’s still not bad.
Then I examined the things that I half-heartedly resolved. These would be more abstract resolutions that are not as grandiose or dramatic as running every day, totally quitting chocolate, giving up beer, or never, ever, ever being late. These resolutions included trying not to be so uptight and rule bound, letting go of things that I really can’t control—which means that far fewer idiot drivers will be getting screamed at from the inside of my car this year—and trying to be at peace with the fact that making an effort does not always yield results equal to that effort.
This last one is specific to how, after seven years of work I have finally completed a novel. And however much I would like for that novel to be published, if it’s not published I’m not going to then say that I’m a terrible writer, despite the years of work. (Another resolution regarding this is that this year I will not work on a novel.) The success of keeping this resolution regarding effort and results has had a bonus effect of improving how I deal with my diabetes.
As many people, such as my colleague Catherine Price, often point out diabetes is not a condition that follows a logical path of cause equaling effect. What’s more, for a diabetic effort does not always yield predictable results. A diabetic, such as myself, can eat the same every day, do the same amount of exercise every day, and take the same medication every day and every day, for inexplicable reasons, end up with blood sugar readings that are much higher or lower than the previous day was and tomorrow will be. It’s as close to playing craps with your health as a person can get. For a diabetic A + B doesn’t always = C. Sometimes it equals D, or Q. Or something it equals being really frustrated and pissed off and yelling at people who are idiots because they tell you if you do this to treat your diabetes then everything will be fine. (OK, I’m still working on that resolution.)
Accepting that, for reasons beyond my control my blood sugar will occasionally go high or low for reasons that I can’t directly influence helps me not get frustrated or say the hell with working hard to stay healthy. This increased acceptance helps me not view my blood sugar fluctuations as a moral failure, or a failure of will. It’s a resolution that, so far I have found comforting.